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Practice News

Patient Success Story

By Practice News

A Patient Success Story

Heather has Parkinson’s Disease, and came to East Bay Brain & Spine in excruciating back pain. She couldn’t even walk. Thanks to a thorough assessment, Dr. Merkow and his team identified the problem. Heather had damaged spinal discs and an arthritic cyst, causing tremendous suffering. Heather gave a painting she created as a gift to Dr. Merkow. Since her successful spine surgery she can paint, and walk, again with minimal pain.

Approval as a Site for the Kaneka Endovascular Embolization and Protection (KEEP) Registry

By Practice News

We are thrilled to announce that through the efforts of Dr. Benjamin Yim, MD, John Muir Health – Walnut Creek has been approved as a site to enroll patients into the KEEP (Kaneka Endovascular Embolization and Protection) trial. This pivotal trial evaluates the use of Kaneka coils in the treatment of brain aneurysms.

Advantages of Kaneka Coils:

Superior Biocompatibility: The Kaneka coils are designed with materials that optimize their compatibility with the human body, reducing the risk of complications.

Enhanced Stability: Their unique design offers greater stability within the aneurysm, ensuring a more reliable and long-lasting result.

Optimal Packing Density: Kaneka coils are developed to maximize the packing density, which is critical for preventing aneurysm recurrence.

Advanced Deployment Mechanism: These coils come with a state-of-the-art deployment mechanism that enhances precision, offering neurosurgeons greater control during procedures.

Innovative Design for Complex Aneurysms: The design of the Kaneka coils makes them suitable even for complex and challenging aneurysm morphologies.

Reduced Coil Compaction: Compared to other coils on the market, Kaneka coils have shown a decreased tendency for coil compaction, a critical factor in long-term aneurysm occlusion.

We are particularly proud to highlight that no other hospital in the Bay Area has been approved for the KEEP trial, placing our practice at the forefront of cerebrovascular interventions and treatments.

Patients or referring physicians interested in learning more about the KEEP trial or considering treatment using the Kaneka coils are encouraged to contact our office.

John Muir Health-Walnut Creek Medical Center Now a Site for the Cerenovus MEMBRANE Trial

By Practice News
Cerenovus MEMBRANE Study

We are thrilled to announce that John Muir Health-Walnut Creek has been officially selected as one of 32 hospitals around the world to enroll patients in the MEMBRANE trial, a groundbreaking study sponsored by Cerenovus, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of healthcare medical companies. No other hospital in Northern California has been selected. This is a pivotal moment for our community and for advancements in medical treatments.

Selected to lead this innovative trial at our site is Dr. Benjamin Yim, MD and his appointment as the Site Principal Investigator is a testament to his dedication and expertise in medical research and patient care.

About the MEMBRANE Trial

The MEMBRANE trial is focused on exploring the benefits of middle meningeal artery embolization in the treatment of chronic or mixed density subdural hematomas. This approach has shown promise in improving patient outcomes, reducing complications, and offering a minimally invasive treatment option.

Benefits of Middle Meningeal Artery Embolization

Middle meningeal artery embolization has been recognized for its potential benefits in treating subdural hematomas, including:

  • Reduced risk of recurrence
  • Minimally invasive procedure
  • Shorter recovery times
  • Improved overall outcomes for patients

More Information

Read more about the Ceronovus MEMBRANE Study:

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by chronic or mixed-density subdural hematomas.

Groundbreaking Treatment: First Use of i-ED Coil® System in Northern California 

By Practice News

We are thrilled to announce a significant milestone at our practice. Dr. Benjamin Yim recently performed the first aneurysm embolization in Northern California and the Bay Area using the innovative i-ED Coil® System from Kaneka Corporation. This state-of-the-art neuroendovascular tool has revolutionized the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases, enhancing the safety and efficacy of our procedures.

In this groundbreaking case, Dr. Yim achieved an impressive 49% packing density using just three i-ED coils. This is an incredible achievement, underscoring the efficacy and precision of these coils in treating cerebrovascular conditions.

The Kaneka i-ED Coil® System offers several advantages over traditional neuroendovascular coils:

  1. Higher Packing Density: The i-ED Coil® System allows for a higher packing density, which can lead to better aneurysm occlusion and potentially lower recurrence rates.
  2. Controlled Deployment: The i-ED Coil® System offers superior control during deployment, making it easier for neurosurgeons to precisely place the coils.
  3. Versatility: The i-ED Coil® System includes a range of coil sizes and types, providing more flexibility in treating different types and sizes of aneurysms.
  4. Enhanced Visibility: The i-ED Coil® System offers enhanced visibility under fluoroscopy, which can improve the safety and accuracy of the procedure.

At our practice, we are committed to providing our patients with the most advanced and effective treatment options. The introduction of the i-ED Coil® System is a testament to this commitment at East Bay Brain and Spine. If you or a loved one are facing a cerebrovascular condition and would like to explore your treatment options, please contact our practice to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yim.

We look forward to continuing to serve our community with cutting-edge neurosurgical care.

Extracranial to Intracranial Bypass Surgery

By Practice News
Benjamin Yim, MD - Neurosurgeon

Dr. Benjamin Yim, a neurosurgeon at East Bay Brain & Spine Medical Group, recently performed an Extracranial to Intracranial Bypass surgery on a patient at the Walnut Creek Medical Center with the assistance from Agnieszka Bajer (surgical technician), Thomas Pierson (OR nurse), and Mauricio Kuri, MD (plastic surgery). The patient was suffering from Moyamoya disease, a rare progressive blood vessel disorder resulting in reduced blood flow to the brain causing hemorrhagic strokes and ischemic symptoms. The procedure, once completed, resulted in immediate improvement of blood flow to the brain for the patient. Dr. Yim performed the surgery using the Zeiss Kinevo Microscope, which we currently have on loan and are planning to purchase. The microscope technology is crucial because the anastomosis of 1 mm blood vessels require sutures approximately 1/3 the width of a strand of hair. This procedure highlights the quaternary level care offerings we provide locally at John Muir Health. Patients can stay in our community for services, procedures and clinical expertise that is normally only associated with academic medical centers.

Pioneering Neurosurgery: First Mini-Pterional Craniotomy at John Muir Walnut Creek

By Practice News
Benjamin Yim, MD - Neurosurgeon

We are delighted to announce another significant accomplishment at our practice. Dr. Benjamin Yim recently performed the first mini-pterional craniotomy at John Muir Walnut Creek, marking a new chapter in the innovative neurosurgical procedures available in Northern California. This advanced technique was employed for the successful clipping of an unruptured aneurysm, enhancing the patient’s prognosis and overall well-being.

The mini-pterional craniotomy represents a less invasive alternative to the traditional pterional craniotomy. It stands out particularly due to the size of the incision needed. While a standard pterional craniotomy typically involves a 10 to 15 cm incision, Dr. Yim’s mini-pterional craniotomy necessitates just a 4 cm cut.

From a patient’s perspective, this difference brings about several substantial benefits:

  1. Smaller Incision: The resulting scar from a mini-pterional craniotomy is considerably smaller, leading to a more pleasing aesthetic result.
  2. Less Invasive: This method minimizes brain retraction, which can reduce postoperative discomfort and accelerate the recovery timeline.
  3. Shorter Hospital Stay: Rapid recovery often associated with a mini-pterional craniotomy can lead to a shorter duration of hospital stay.
  4. Preservation of Function: The mini-pterional technique ensures excellent visualization and access to the surgical site while causing minimal disruption to the surrounding brain tissue, potentially preserving cognitive and motor functions.

Our practice is committed to bringing the most recent and effective treatment options to our patients. The implementation of the mini-pterional craniotomy at John Muir Walnut Creek is a testament to this commitment, reflecting our dedication to patient-centered, state-of-the-art neurosurgical care.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a cerebrovascular condition and seeking the most progressive treatment solutions, we invite you to reach out to our practice and schedule a consultation with Dr. Yim. We are devoted to providing the high-quality neurosurgical care you deserve, helping you navigate your health journey with confidence and optimism.

We’re Moving October 1

By Featured, Practice News
Dear patients,
As of Thursday, October 1, 2020, East Bay Brain & Spine/BASS Neurosurgery will be moving to a new location!  We will still be in the same complex, but will be in a different building – Building 2. Our new address will be:
130 La Casa Via
Building 2, Suite 210
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
We look forward to seeing you in our new space!
Covid 19 Update

Covid-19 Update

By Practice News
Dear patients,
East Bay Brain & Spine/BASS Neurosurgery is dedicated to providing outstanding neurosurgical care to our community and simultaneously upholding the highest public health standards. We continue to follow the novel coronavirus and associated COVID-19 illness situation very closely. We currently are providing office consultations and performing necessary procedures while adhering to national, state, and local guidelines.
Max Merkow M.D. and Matt Piazza M.D.
Covid 19 Update

Covid-19 Update

By Practice News

Dear patients,

The SARS-CoV-2 virus and associated COVID-19 illness are major public health threats both locally and globally. Your well-being is our highest priority, and thus East Bay Brain & Spine/BASS Neurosurgery is postponing all non-emergency surgeries and routine office visits. This temporary policy is in line with our values of caring for you as well as the American College of Surgeons recommendations. Limiting your exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus will protect you, your families, and our community. We will work diligently to perform your surgery and evaluate you in our office as soon as is medically safe.

If you develop new or quickly worsening neurologic symptoms please contact our office. If you cannot reach our office please present to an emergency room for evaluation.

We thank you for your understanding as we respond to these unusual circumstances.

Max Merkow M.D. and Matt Piazza M.D.

VIDEO FEATURE: Dr. Max Merkow speaks about minimally invasive spine techniques

By Featured, Practice News

Dr. Merkow addresses the philosophy behind modern spine procedures that are commonly classified as “minimally invasive.” The tenets of these surgeries include minimizing tissue injury, utilizing neuronavigation (computer/imaging guidance), and maintaining normal spine motion. Examples include tubular retractor systems, artificial disc replacement, and lateral approaches to the spine. These surgeries shorten traditional recovery times. Dr. Merkow believes, when used appropriately, minimally invasive spine surgery improves clinical outcomes by decreasing pain, increasing strength, and raising one’s overall quality of life. East Bay Brain & Spine surgeons couple the latest in surgical technology with sound clinical judgment to better the lives of their patients.